Saturday, September 26, 2015

LOS OLVIDADOS (1950)

Long before KIDS or CITY OF GOD there was LOS OLVIDADOS.

Set in the slums of Mexico City, LOS OLVIDADOS tells the story of a group a kids who have mostly been left to fend for themselves.  A few of them have parents but either their parents are non-functioning alcoholics, extremely poor or they just straight up don't care about their children at all.  Piles of garbage, (real onscreen) animal cruelty, dirt roads, filth, violence, implied sexual predator...the small world in which the residents of LOS OLVIDADOS live is a never-ending cycle of despair.

Our main character is Pedro, a young boy who's mother doesn't care if he ever comes home or not.  She doesn't even let him eat when he is there.  He spends the majority of his time hanging out with a rough group of boys.  Lead by the violent Jaibo, the group steals non-stop and entertain themselves by abusing handicap adults.  One day Pedro witnesses Jailbo beating another kid to death.  This is the beginning of the end for Pedro.

Filled from beginning to end with negative images LOS OLVIDADOS is a depressing film.  It's not as dark as more recent lost youth films but for 1950 I imagine LOS OLVIDADOS was quite shocking.  When I first saw it decades ago I thought it was a masterpiece, but watching it again just now, it's definitely aged some.  It's still a wonderful film and required viewing for anybody serious about Cinema, but it's not quite good enough to make it into my Best Film category.  Hopefully one of these days we'll finally get a proper remastered release.